Abhimanyu, the Valiant Hero of Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is the story of practical wisdom. It is the story of hatred and rivalry. Each chapter of Mahabharata conveys a great message and each message has its own vibrant dimensions as well. And some part is tragic too. The episode of Karna was hurting. Equally heartbreaking was the story of Abhimanyu, the brave son of Arjuna, one of the greatest heroes of Mahabharata. The readers will immerse in sorrow when they hear the tragic end of Abhimanyu at the Kurukshetra war at a young age of sixteen.
13th Day of the Mahabharata War, the crucial day
The Mahabharata war is continuing on the 13th day also with a high voltage performance both by the Kauravas and the Pandavas. In the past twelve days, great casualty occurred on both sides and more of the damages being to the Kaurava’s camp.
To take control of the war, the Kauravas plotted an idea- to take Yudhisthira as captive. They thought that Yudhisthira would be their prize catch and with that they can easily achieve victory in the war. But Arjuna with the help of Lord Krishna foiled all their attempts by his timely intervention.
Duryodhana, the head of Kauravas was frustrated on their foiled attempts. He shouted at Drona, the Commander-in-Chief of the Kaurava militia. He told Drona that he is not serious enough to defeat the Pandavas.
Drona’s pride was hurt. The humiliation was so intense. He was sure of one thing that only in the absence of Arjuna and Krishna, the Kauravas can capture Yudhisthira. Soon, some plot was made and accordingly both Arjuna and Krishna were forced to move to the Southern end of the battlefield.
Arjuna and Krishna’s Disappearance
The Kaurava camp was happy on the new development, which is the disappearance of Arjuna and Krishna, the mighty warriors of Pandava camp. They are now at a distant place of the battlefield. For Kauravas, it was the most expected and cherished moment. It was a golden chance for the powerful Drona to choke out his war strategies cleverly and execute them without fear.
Drona arranged the Kaurava army in the lotus formation or 'Chakravyuha'. It is a sort of war strategy, the most complicated and the toughest style. This is a challenging arrangement and required some real expertise to break into the array. The people who know the tricks to break the lotus formation are Arjuna and Krishna, but unfortunately they are away.
The situation is panic. It is a do or die condition for the Pandavas. Yudhisthira, The Pandava Chief was very much worried on these developments. He finally remembered Abhimanyu, the brave son of his brother Arjuna. Though the boy was only sixteen years old, he was equal to his father in his skill in archery and war strategies.
Yudhisthria approached Abhimanyu and said, “Son, I came here to seek your help for Dronacharya has arranged the army in the lotus formation today. Only Arjuna and Krishna know how to break the formation and enter their side. But as you are aware, both of them are away now and only you can help at this juncture.”
For Abhimanyu, it was a great occasion to prove his courage and caliber. He proudly replied, “Great uncle, it is an honor for me. Father has taught me to break the lotus formation and get inside. But he has not taught me how to get out once I am inside. My only worry is that suppose, some emergency comes, I won’t be able to get out”.
What a brave boy he is. He is well aware of the entry tricks but not the exit tricks. So the chance is 50:50. Yet, he boldly and happily agreed to proceed.
Yudhisthira blessed him and assured him all assistance in the war front. He said, “We will be following you close behind and all of us will enter the Kaurava army once you have broken the formation. You need not worry about any emergency”.
Abhimanyu’s entry on the war front
Abhimanyu got into his chariot. He told Sumitra, his charioteer to drive fast to reach the spot where the Kaurava army is expecting him under the commandership of Drona.
They soon reached the spot. And how Abhimanyu performed on the war front? He did prove he is the son of a brave fighter. Abhimanyu did break the lotus formation (Chakravyuha) of the Kaurava army. He got inside the Kaurava array. But, then was caught inside alone. No one could help him. Yudhisthria, Bhishma, Drishtadhyumna, and others were blocked by the Kaurava army. Though they closely followed Abhimanyu, Jayadratha, the king of the Sindhu territory prevented them from entering the array. Jayadratha was so strong and the mighty Pandavas too were rendered powerless before his strength. (Remember Arjuna was not at the scene).
Abhimanyu was not at all scared. He faced his opponents single-handedly. He fought with great courage and caused much destruction in the enemy camp. He was just sixteen but fought with great warriors like Drona and Karna fearlessly and all of them tasted defeat. Drona noted the boy's power and courage with admiration. He even commented, "Look, Abhimanyu is only a lad, yet he has proved that he is equal to his father in valour".
Drona's praising of Abhimanyu irritated Duryodhana. He again made some sharp verbal attack on Drona.
Drona's pride was once again hurt. That made him to act tough and to take some decisive decision. And by now the Kaurava camp is well aware of the strength of Abhimanyu. When he is capable of defeating even the mighty warriors like Drona, Kripa, Duryodhana and Karna, how can they doubt on his calibre? So it is time to choke out some drastic or rather devilish plan. That may be against the rule of war. But that is required now since the opponent is unbeatable. Finally, they were ready to execute some foul strategy. As per the plan, they surrendered him on all the side and attacked him vigorously.
The Distressing Destiny of the Valiant Hero
Abhimanyu fought fearlessly. In the fierce war, his charioteer was killed, his horses were killed and his chariot was smashed. Sadly, his bow also was broken. Nevertheless, Abhimanyu fought with great courage. As he was weaponless, he pulled out the wheel of his chariot and faced his opponents.
Sometimes, the destiny plays the most painful role. Imagine the cruel fate of Abhimanyu on the war front. A boy of just sixteen is all alone and even without a weapon. But he is surrendered by hundreds of warriors with a powerful weapon! What a terrific situation!!
But none of these adverse conditions prevented Abhimanyu. He was fighting with Dussasana's son. Both of them fell down. The continuous fight had made him exhausted. So Abhimanyu took a little longer than the other did in getting up.
It was a great opportunity for the Kaurava camp. A moment they were waiting for anxiously. Dussasana's son did make use of this opportunity. He smashed the brave Abhimanyu's head with his mace.
A hero, who had fought valiantly till his last moment was killed. Abhimanyu died as a great hero. The Kauravas killed him in an unfair combat. But Abhimanyu, the great hero of the Kurukshetra war still lives among the hearts of millions of readers, who turn the pages of the great epic called 'The Mahabharata'.
+++++The Mahabharata is the greatest epic the world has ever seen. Many books/works were written based on the original version of the epic. For the preparation of this work, I have relied on some of them. Due credit is hereby given to those known and unknown writers.+++++
© 2014 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth